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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Continuous Improvement With On-Demand Color Labels


If you or your customers have a room or warehouse as this picture shows:

preprint-label-inventory

Then you have a great opportunity for continuous improvement with on-demand color labels.


King Brothers Industries (KBI) (www.kbico.comis the preferred source for plumbing and irrigation valves and adapters for both pool contractors and homeowners worldwide.  In 1970, King Brothers Industries owner Bob King developed his first product in a tool shed in Fillmore, California. This initial product was the Flex Riser which sold over 100,000 units instantly.

I learned of KBI while attending the Hardware Tradeshow in Las Vegas in May (http://www.nationalhardwareshow.com/with Neway Packaging (www.newaypackaging.com).  While walking the show, I met the sales manager from KBI who was kind enough to give me the name and contact information for the Operations Manager.

After the show, I had the opportunity to meet and complete a demonstration for KBI.  When we first met, Donald Kersey, Operations, said, “we have been trying to move to on-demand color labels for some time.  We just had not found a color label printer that works.”

Like other companies, KBI had always used black-only labels with barcodes and text produced on thermal transfer printers.  Then, Donald says, “Sales wanted to improve the look of our labels; to make them more modern.  At that point, we begin using preprinted labels.  With over 19,000 SKU’s including different products, sizes, and brand names, it was not long before we had a large inventory of labels given the minimum order quantities required by our printer.  With necessary changes that occur from time-to-time, we ended up discarding thousands of dollars of inventory annually”.

Donald continues, “when I got involved with KBI, I changed from maintaining preprinted inventory for each label to using formats with pictures that represented a variety of sizes.  Although this processed reduced inventory, our obsolescence and other costs were still too high.  I had to find a better process.”

color-label

At this point, KBI started looking for printers to improve their labeling process.  Donald says, “we tried the Primera LX900, but did not get the results we needed.”

After my demonstration, Donald wanted to insure he had media that worked; including giving his existing vendor the opportunity to supply the inkjet labels.  After getting samples, I worked with the KBI vendor to test labels to insure they worked well with the TM-C3400.  After some time, KBI purchased printers and media for both their operations in Valencia and Tijuana.  In Valencia, KBI is using Easy Label (www.easylabel.com) to design and print their labels.  For the operations in Tijuana, KBI designed new label formats, printing the JPEG files using Windows making the implementation very simple and easy.


Over time, KBI will reduce their label inventory, obsolesce, and administration costs significantly by using on-demand color labels.  I encourage you to look at how a continuous improvement process like the one implemented at KBI will improve your or your customer’s business.

Guy Mikel

1 comment:

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    ReplyDelete